Monthly Archives: May, 2014

Delores Takes 10: Heading for the Finish Line

This is it the final week of the Take 10! Challenge. Thankfully, after last week, I made it off the floor without yelling for help.

I can deal with the Legs and Arms exercises this week. I’m all for the modified pushups, as long as I don’t have to get on the floor. The lunges are manageable (Hint: if you’re not sure how well you can keep your balance, place a chair next to you) and the wall sits are a piece of cake – just make sure you don’t slide down too far and can’t get back up.

The second week of Po-Ke-No went well; the high winner was a Royal Straight Flush. I will be awarding token gifts for those who played the game and turned in their cards.  I’ll be back in a few weeks with one last update on my progress.


Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Pears

Pears are currently in season, which means they’re at their juiciest and most nutritious. Whether eaten as a snack or added into a sweet or savory dish, pears are high in fiber and a good source of Vitamins C and K. The bulk of the fiber in pears (pun intended) resides in their skin, so make sure to leave the skin on whenever you cook with or eat them.

Collard, Pear, and Caramelized Onion Casserole

1 pound collard greens, stems removed, cut onto ½ inch strips
1 pound Spanish or yellow onions, peeled, sliced ¼-inch thick
1 pound ripe pears, cores removed, sliced ¼-inch thick
⅓ cup dried cherries
½ cup apple cider or apple juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 ½ cups shredded smoked gouda

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté onions in olive oil with ¼ teaspoon salt until caramelized, about 20 minutes. When soft, sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and let cool.
2. In a large pot, cook collard greens, covered, in ½ cup water until soft, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
3. In a small saucepan, combine apple cider or juice with dried cherries and simmer over low heat until cherries are plump. Set aside to cool.
4. In a bowl, mix well together onions, pears, collard greens, cherries with juice, apple cider vinegar, coriander and 1 ¼ cups of the cheese. Season with salt to taste.
5. Transfer the mixture to a 6-cup casserole dish coated with vegetable oil spray, sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of cheese, and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes until the pears are soft. Serves 6.

Recipe from the Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets

Delores Takes 10: A Core Challenge

Week 3 is here already – just one more week to go! The first two week of the Challenge went will for the group, although it is getting hard for some of us to stay motivated with other thing goings on in and out of the office.

The first week of Po-Ke-No went well; the winning hand for the week was a Royal Flush, Ace high, although a few other employees had Straights. The second week of the game is under way, and next Friday, the 30th of May, I will be awarding prizes (some good, and a few silly ones).

This is the week for more muscles to get a workout. I looked at all the pictures of the Core Strength exercises for this week. Gee, they’re all on the floor! I have no problem getting down and doing them; it’s just getting back up that I’m worried about. If you don’t hear from me next week, I’ll still be on the floor yelling, “Help I can’t get up!”

Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Green Beans

Up until a few years ago, my main exposure to green beans had come from the canned variety. As you may know, canned green beans tend to be soggy and not very visually-appealing. While canned green beans still have a similar nutrient content to fresh or frozen varieties – including high levels of Vitamin C and a good amount of fiber, Vitamins A and K, folate, and manganese – they often contain added sodium and are, in my opinion, lacking a key aspect that their fresh counterparts have – crunch. There is nothing more satisfying then fresh,  nappy green beans prepared with only a few other healthy ingredients. Since green beans are now in season, I’ve been making this dish quite frequently – and it’s the only vegetable dish that makes my normally veggie-averse husband come back for seconds.

Cheesy Green Beans Almondine

1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed (you can also use the fresh, pre-cut, steam-in-bag variety that Green Line makes)
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1-2 tablespoons olive oil (if you have flavored oil, like garlic or basil, use it here)
¼ cup shredded parmesan or cheddar cheese (or use your favorite cheese – low-fat is preferable)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Cook beans in a medium saucepan, covered in a small amount of boiling water until crisp-tender. Alternatively, microwave beans in a steamer (or in the bag if you’re using the Green Line beans) according to manufacturer’s instructions.
2. Drain beans and move to a large bowl.
3. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with almonds and cheese.
4. Toss together and serve warm.


Delores Takes 10: Getting into the Swing of Things

By Guest Blogger Delores Collins, DTA

Well, I made it through Week 1 of the Take 10! Challenge, and it was not too bad, although there were a couple of days where I was lazy and didn’t do all of the exercises.  Most of the participants at my agency seem to be enjoying the Challenge. Some of us even got other family members to exercise with us.  A few of us forgot there are 7 days in the week and only worked out for 5 days.  Oops.

Week 2 started off good; we as a group have a new attitude to do better this week.  The bonus attraction for Weeks 2 and 3 is that participants also get to play a board game called PoKeNo. Since we have 25 people participating in Take 10!, I split the game into two segments –  half will play this week, and the rest will play next week. Prizes for the winners will be awarded on May 30 to coincide with the last day of the Challenge.  I hope the game will be a nice incentive to keep participants motivated.

Stay tuned for next week to see how we’re doing!

Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Rhubarb

Although rhubarb is technically a vegetable, it’s often used in sweet dishes in combination with one or more fruits. Rhubarb lends dishes a tart taste and crisp texture, as well as a host of nutritional benefits. Rhubarb is a good source of fiber, Vitamin C, calcium, and potassium, and an excellent source of Vitamin K. Rhubarb is in season right now, so make sure to pick up – and cook with – this seasonal treat while you still can!

Oatmeal-Rhubarb Porridge

1 ½ cups water, nonfat milk, or nondairy milk, such as soymilk or almond milk
½ cup orange juice
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup ½-inch pieces rhubarb, fresh or frozen
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
2-3 tablespoons brown sugar, pure maple syrup, or agave syrup
2 tablespoons chopped pecans or other nuts

1. Combine milk, juice, oats, rhubarb, cinnamon and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
2. Reduce heat, cover, and cook at a very gentle bubble, stirring frequently, until the oats and rhubarb are tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
4. Stir in sweetener to taste. Top with nuts. Makes 2 large servings.

Recipe from EatingWell

Delores Takes 10: Getting Ready for the Challenge

By Guest Blogger Delores Collins, DTA

I began advertising the Take 10! Challenge to DTA staff on Thursday April 24, with a start date of May 5. So far, 25 of my co-workers have signed up to take the Challenge – congrats to them! We are all revved up to begin the Challenge this week.

Being the WellMASS Wellness Champion for my agency for the last few years has given me the opportunity to meet new people, learn more about the health issues that affect us all, and  try to be an overall healthier and more active person.

I always try to motivate my fellow workers to attend the WellMASS seminars and participate in the Challenges, so I’m excited to see how we all do this time around.

Stay tuned for my next blog after we make it through the first week.

Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Chives

Chives, a cousin of onions, leeks, and garlic, can add a mild flavor and bright garnish to a variety of dishes. Adding even a small amount of chives to a dish will not only liven it up, but increase its health benefits as well. Like the other members of the Alliaceae family, chives contain allicin, a compound that may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Additionally, chives contain the flavonoid quercetin, which acts as an antioxidant to reduce the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Other antioxidants found in chives include Vitamins C and K.

Asparagus with Chive Vinaigrette and Sliced Almonds

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon minced shallots
2 tablespoons chopped chives
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons slices almonds

1. Steam asparagus in a quarter-inch of water in a large pot for 4 until it’s crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together shallots, chives, vinegar, mustard, and oil. Season to taste with pepper.
3. Drizzle vinaigrette over asparagus and top with sliced almonds. Serves 4.

Recipe from Taste of Life magazine, April 2014.